The Internet provider that you choose will directly impact your experiences online. You need to take the time to find a provider that matches your needs and lifestyle. You generally want the fastest provider available so that you can do anything online almost instantly. Here is what to look for when trying to choose the right Internet provider for your home.
Type of Connection
Over 74 percent of households today have Internet access. The type of Internet connection you have matters. You want to generally avoid satellite unless it is the only option since it is slow and highly restricted. Digital subscriber lines, or DSL, and cable can be good although your distance to the source and the state of the lines could affect service. Fiber optic connections are the best, fastest and most reliable.
You want to have fast download speeds. If you just browse the web and check email, then about 5 megabits per second, or Mbps, is good. Streaming movies requires 10 Mbps or more. A connection with 100 Mbps is excellent if you enjoy gaming, using video chat or have a large family that will all use the Internet at once. The average download speed in the country is 12.6 Mbps.
The upload speed is how fast you can send information through the provider. Upload speeds matter for gaming, video conferencing and file sharing. You want an upload speed that is at 5 Mbps or higher. You preferably want the upload speed to be at least half the download speed.
Watch out for data caps with Internet providers. This is a restriction on how much data you can transfer in a month. If you exceed the cap, then your speed could be lowered dramatically or you will lose access to the Internet. It is best to choose a provider offering unlimited data.
Check the customer service options available for any Internet provider. You want to see a phone number and multiple ways to get help. It is highly likely something will go wrong with your Internet connection at some point. Good customer service will ensure you have minimal downtime.
Look for Internet providers that offer service bundles. These are package deals where you can get cable, phone and Internet all for a single low price. You want this option available so that you can simplify the services coming into your home. Bundles also allow integration of services so that you Internet, phone and television can all work together. Always check the website of the provider to see what bundles are available.